Intro to Pranayama Training Course

“When the breath wanders the mind is also unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still and the yogi achieves long life.” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Excerpt from the Intro to Pranayama training course:

My Story

I started practicing pranayama ten years ago. I spent two years studying the techniques and theories. Before then, I’d received a very brief introduction to pranayama through drop-in yoga classes. The intricate breathing practices were interesting, but I was much more attracted to the physical practice of yoga.

When I decided to become a yoga teacher I started learning basic pranayama techniques. Honestly, I didn’t want to do it! I didn’t have much patience and foolishly thought it was too easy for me.

The truth was that the idea of meditation was a little terrifying. I had been working with an anxiety disorder and the suggestion to sit quietly with my own mind seemed impossible.

[Recommended Reading: Up to 67% of People Would Rather Receive an Electric Shock than Meditate]

There’s a saying in yoga: That which you resist is the thing you need the most.

Hindsight being 20-20, pranayama was exactly what I needed. As a kid I was diagnosed with asthma, so my lungs were already weak. A solid pranayama practice would have helped immensely. But my ego was getting in the way of my ability to take care of myself…

My yoga teacher could see that I wasn’t breathing properly. He insisted that I learn the basic techniques. I went on learn the more advanced techniques and over time the theories began to take root. Eventually, I began to experience the more profound, subtle effects of pranayama.

What did I learn?

Pranayama training gave me a great appreciation for internal yoga practices. I also respect the many health benefits of asana practice. Americans have explored this facet of the yoga diamond extensively, due to our appreciation of the athleticism of the human body.

But I will say this…

If you never go beyond the physical practice of yoga you are shortchanging yourself.

The best analogy I can offer is:

If you take a bunch of vegetables, cut them up and put them into a pot, pour water over them but never turn on the stove… and somehow, you’re expecting that it will transform into soup.

Obviously, that’s never going to happen.

The way to light the fire of yoga practice is through comprehensive application and cultivation of the internal practices. It’s absolutely essential to have a well-rounded understanding of all of the branches of yoga in order to make real progress.

There’s a popular misconception that yoga can be anything to anyone, which is simply not true. Not in the traditional sense of what yoga is – a path to Self-realization and union with the divine.

So let’s begin…

For more information please visit: Personal Yoga: Intro to Pranayama Training Course

 

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Outdoor Fitness Classes – Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club

Outdoor training season is one of my favorite times of year. Navigating the weather can be a bit of an adventure here in Parker, Colorado. We get flash hailstorms all summer and it can get pretty windy at times. Which is a big reason why I’m so grateful to have a new indoor training space.

On nice days it’s amazing to train outside here. The sunsets are gorgeous and the skies are incredible. And after a long winter it feels so good to soak up the warm sunshine while exercising.

One of my local outdoor training spots is the Parker Norwell Outdoor Fitness park. Park gyms are a very cool phenomenon. I’ve seen a few of them in my travels around the country. This one was designed by the Barkholt family from Denmark:

During travels in Asia, the family experienced how the public outdoor fitness parks everywhere offer easy access to exercise, and the perfect supplement to the family’s walking and running routines.

This experience inspired the Barkholt family to develop their own unique line of outdoor fitness equipment, expressing the very best of Danish Design: quality, functionality and aesthetics.

There’s one piece of equipment that I really like – the curved pull up/stretching bars.

It’s perfect for practicing a full range of strength and flexibility exercises. A few of my favorite exercises include:

  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Flat Back Stretch
  • Hanging Spinal Stretch
  • Leg Lifts Series (for core and leg strength)
  • High Bar Stretching

These exercises are highly beneficial for all levels of experience. If there was one thing I could recommend that people do for themselves this summer it would be to train outdoors 2-3 days a week.

I’ll be co-hosting a series of small group sessions at the Norwell Park Gym and other local outdoor training spots. Contact me if you’re interested in attending a free seminar on how to do these exercises.

For more information visit the Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club’s Facebook page.

 

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Never Leave the Park

Basic Goodness Summer Air

When Life Gets Busy Your Practice is the First Thing to Go

One could say that moving falls in the top five life challenges. I’d say that’s a safe bet, just based on the volume of time and energy that moving requires. When life gets busy taking care of ourselves loses priority. Fast.

It’s been a week since I moved into my new home. It still feels like I have a thousand things to do and I’m juggling so many balls in the air. I’ll be so happy when I’m settled in and can get back on track with my practice.

As I’m unpacking I keep pausing in front of the window of my new training space. We just had a late spring blizzard and the beautiful pine tree outside is covered in snow.

I watch as the sunlight begins to shine through the clouds. I’m daydreaming about practicing in my new home.

I had to sacrifice my own training quite a bit this month. It happens. Especially when your home is under construction.

When life gets busy your practice is the first thing to go. – Garrell Herndon, Bodyworker and Yoga Instructor

At times like these I remember some wise words from an Iyengar yoga teacher that I studied with. They always serve as a good reminder to be gentle with myself during times of high output.

I know the work is worthwhile. I’m just so incredibly grateful to have a home training space. It’s a long term dream that requires very particular dimensions of space. I am not a fan of the tiny house movement. Or low hanging ceiling fans. Or big pieces of furniture.  I like to move!

I’m getting close to achieving my dream lifestyle: to have a job that I love, to be able to focus on my practice, and create Personal Yoga retreats. I can’t even begin to describe how happy this makes me…

Living my Dharma, one day at a time.

Self Teacher Study – Personal Yoga Training Chart

A Personal Yoga practice gives you the freedom to practice anytime, anywhere. Practicing at home sounds easy enough but it can take years to cultivate your own intuitive, organic practice.

Needless to say, it can be challenging to self-direct your own practice. Having too many choices can feel overwhelming. Without a clear road map you might start avoiding your mat altogether.

When I feel overwhelmed I get organized. I keep a wire-bound notebook on my desk at all times.

I love making lists. All kinds. Grocery lists, “To Do” lists, long-term goal lists, project lists, etc. I love the satisfaction of crossing things off and throwing lists away. I keep the best lists.

Six months ago I started developing my first Personal Yoga training chart (feel free to expand upon it). This organizational tool played an essential role in my recovery from a herniated disk.

Create your own Personal Yoga Training Chart

Step 1: Free Writing

Start by free writing a page of notes. Write continuously until you fill the page. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Write about your goals. Write about any challenges you might be having with your home practice. It’s okay to go off topic, just keep writing.

Step 2: Movement Vocabulary

On a fresh sheet of paper make a list (!) of exercises. Think about your movement vocabulary. Which exercises will help you reach your goals? What do you enjoy doing?

[The key word here is: Enjoy. One pitfall to avoid is too much structure. Too many have-to’s. Not enough want-to’s.]

How do you want to move?

The level of challenge is up to you. You could include one or two exercises that you don’t necessarily enjoy but would be good for you. For the most part include exercises that you genuinely enjoy.

Step 3: Training Chart

On a third sheet of paper make a chart. On the left side of the page list all of the dates for the next month. Across the top of the page create columns for each exercise that you listed in Step 2.

The number of exercises is up to you. I recommend anywhere from 3-12. Your personal practice can be as simple or as challenging as you want to be. The idea is to pick exercises that you can see yourself doing on a day-to-day basis.

Tracking your daily progress is very satisfying. And a training chart provides you with a record of your efforts over time.

Off Days

Gaps in your training schedule are okay! It’s bound to happen at some point. Life gets busy or takes an unexpected turn. Be kind to yourself on your off days. Trust that you’ll get back on track as soon as possible.

Could you use a little help with with your budding home practice? I’d love to hear about your goals. Book a free no-obligation consultation today.

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Personal Yoga Benefits

Personal Yoga Retreats

Personal Yoga RetreatsLast night I trained in a temple of clouds. The gentle currents of air mingled with the sounds of water. I watched two young mule deer peek their heads above the long grasses in the nearby field. In the distance a billowing cumulus tower ignited with flashes of lightning. The blazing sunset warmed my back as I moved and stretched my body.

Summer training season is here.

I love training outdoors. As much as I appreciate the privacy of an indoor space, as soon as the weather allows I like to go to the park, trail or playground whenever possible. In public spaces there’s usually an audience, but most people are nice. Like the elderly lady last night who said, “Thank you for the entertainment.”

Summer training season is a wonderful time for Personal Yoga retreats. These experiences replenish and refuel my whole being. It’s not just exercising – it’s the whole lifestyle. Eating alchemical food, feeling GREAT and laughing a lot.

Have I mentioned that I love my life?

Personal Yoga Retreat QuicheThis is not the kind of thing that you can teach in drop-in classes. It’s means taking a whole day to focus on eating, meditating and training. That’s my life – I create my own personal yoga retreats. I’ve been doing this for over five years now. I just enjoy feeling awesome and is this is how I do it.

It’s definitely possible to do this for yourself. You just have to carve out some space in your schedule and do some basic preparations, such as:

  • Clean the house
  • Clean and groom your body
  • Get your “to-do” list in order
  • Stock the fridge with delicious and healthy food

All of this will help to minimize distractions. Once you’ve cleared your slate start your Personal Yoga retreat nice and slow. Turn your phone off (or just don’t answer it). Cook with superfoods. Take some supplements. Drink lots of fluids. Move in ways that your body and mind enjoy. Rest when you’re tired.

If you’d like some help with designing your own Personal Yoga retreat I’d be happy to speak with you. I offer free no-obligation consultations in person, by phone, Skype or Facetime.

Red Rose Mandala

Small Group Yoga Training

Small Group Yoga Training

Let’s face it, exercising with friends is a lot of fun. We can learn so much about ourselves while being part of a team. And as life is moving faster than ever, quality time with friends and family is becoming even more of a priority.

Small group training is a wonderful way to experience the benefits of Personal Yoga in a supportive environment. Receive high quality instruction at an affordable rate, as you create meaningful shared experiences. Families, friends, couples and co-workers can form their own teams and work towards their shared goals.

Flying solo

If you would like to join a team simply request to be added to an open group. This is a great way to make new friends and connect with people in a positive setting. You might also choose to receive additional help through one-on-one training while participating in a small group program.

Small groups are small for good reason

Keeping the number of participants low makes it possible for each client to receive as much personalized attention as possible. Small groups are typically made up of two, three or four people.

How long does a training program run?

The ideal time frame for a small group training program is 5-10 weeks. You could start with a single session and if you decide to continue I recommend upgrading to a discounted package of five sessions.

Parker Pricing Menu

 

Assemble Your Team


Some helpful tips on forming your own Personal Yoga team:

INVITE A FRIEND 

Everyone needs a little motivation from time to time. Give your friends a little nudge and share this post with them.

 

FIND A TEAM 

Ask to be added to a team that is right for you. We’ll connect you with people who have similar needs and goals.

 

Get Motivated


Read a few success stories from past clients on the Testimonials page.

Learn about the many Personal Yoga Benefits

 

Get Started


Start your Personal Yoga journey today. Sign up for a free no-obligation consultation: Book Now

Off-Grid Living

Mescal CanyonIt’s pretty amazing to be in Arizona again. The first time I came here was twenty years ago as an apprentice for an artist in residency program. This time I’m fulfilling a dream of interning at an off-grid eco resort. I’ve been learning about organic gardening and assisting with the operations of a family-run bed and breakfast. In my free time I dive into my practice and absorb the life force of this extraordinary place.

Since landing here a little over a week ago, the effects of unplugging from the electromagnetic matrix have been remarkable. The most noticeable changes have been from being in a larger living space. After the experience of an Agenda 21 micro apartment it’s been wonderful to stretch out again.

I am not a fan of the tiny house movement.

Free range humans need space to thrive and create. While micro-apartments may offer an affordable housing solution, the health risks are significant. According to University of Texas psychology professor Samuel Gosling, an apartment has to fill psychological needs such as self-expression and relaxation, which might not be met in a cramped space.

Rosemary

The Mescal Canyon Retreat has been a welcome source of peace of mind. A crime wave was sweeping through Montrose, Colorado, the likes of which had never been seen by its thirty-year residents. After hearing reports of numerous break-ins, robberies and attempted abductions, it was time for a change of scenery.

It’s wonderful to decompress in an off-grid setting.

My brain has relaxed in the absence of cell phone towers, wi-fi and smart meter radiation. I find that I’m less inclined to go online or use technology. I see phosphenes more often, and the low levels of light pollution make it easier to observe the Milky Way.

Sunset

My sleep schedule has changed. I rise with the sun and go to bed early. I shower and wash dishes with solar-heated water that’s free of chlorine, fluoride and bromine. Hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies skim over the flowerbeds during my meditations. I eat fresh pomegranates from the orchard.

Ayla

Furry friends.

Ayla and Moki keep watch over the property. Moki the Hound takes his job very seriously, and sometimes you’ll hear him chasing coyotes through the canyon. Ayla is a cheeky red fox in a dog’s body. She’s earned many nicknames, including Face, Furface, Foxface and Naughty Girl.

It’s been raining here (a much needed blessing for this area). Last weekend a downpour caused a flash flood through the canyon. For a few hours there was no way to cross the river or leave the resort. There’s nothing quite like being stranded to make you appreciate self-sustainability.

Being here has inspired me to offer Personal Yoga retreats for my clients. There’s nothing quite as wonderful as being able to dive in to one’s practice in a serene and natural setting. It’s an experience that I hope to share with as many people as possible. Let me know if you’re interested!

Trumpets

Personal Yoga Discount $

Personal Yoga Discount

 

Personal Yoga sessions are a worthwhile investment because of their effectiveness and numerous benefits.

A great way to receive the same results at a fraction of the cost is to become a research client!

As a research client, you will receive the same training program as other clients at a discount. You may be asked to:

  • Fill out pre or post session assessments
  • Participate in photo or video documentation
  • Spend a few minutes being interviewed about your progress

Your anonymity is assured, just like every private client.

Becoming a research client is a great way to help others while gaining valuable insight about your own progress.

Research clients save 25% or more off the normal session rate. Reap the rewards of Personal Yoga training at an amazing discount!

If you’re ready to commit to your health and contribute to other people’s wellbeing contact Emily today.

Personal Yoga Benefits

 

CartwheelAre you thinking about starting a Personal Yoga training program? If so, this is a great article to read before we meet for your FREE initial consultation. It’s based on real-life accounts from former students who have experienced the recalibration of a Personal Yoga training program.

How will my life improve from training with Emily?

You may experience any or all of the following benefits:

  • Feel more comfortable in your body.
  • Stronger, more flexible, more at ease.
  • Less pain, increased mobility.
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • Improved posture, healthier.

Some senior students have even reported growing taller!

You may also feel:

  • Calmer, happier, kinder.
  • Relieved, grateful.
  • Empowered.
  • Sexier.
  • Less anxious.
  • Less angry or frustrated.
  • Confident, knowledgeable.

One student remarked how my approach is like a teacher training. It’s true, I provide teacher training-level information at a fraction of the cost! I believe that everyone who wants a solid yoga training should have access to this information, so they can learn how to do their own life-long, sustainable practice. Studios will sometimes offer “unlimited” yoga specials. What I’m offering is the ultimate form of unlimited Yoga – the ability to practice anytime, anywhere! 

If you’re interested in learning more about how Personal Yoga can benefit you I’d be happy to schedule a phone call or meet for a cup of tea. You can contact me by emailing: mindbodymandala@gmail.com. I look forward to speaking with you!

Park Gym Mandala

Park Gym
Photo courtesy of Bodybuilding.com

So I recently discovered this amazing park gym in Boise, Idaho…

The Bodybuilding.com Park Gym at Ann Morrison Park is made up of 15 pieces of durable new fitness equipment installed on a 1,400-square-foot pad. Use of the equipment, which is accessible year round, is free to the public.

If you’re not sure how to use all of the pieces of equipment, you can follow the detailed, step-by-step instructions that are posted at the entrance. (Self Teacher Training note: you can also devise your own ways to use the equipment.) 

I’ve seen outdoor gyms before, but I really liked this one because it’s circular and because it’s designated for adults and children (14+). Why is this so awesome? Outdoor training season has officially started, so it’s probably a good time to discuss a common stereotype about adults using playgrounds. 

During the warm months I like to practice in parks and playgrounds. They’re great for Mind Body Parkour and exercising in nature does wonders for the spirit. Most of the adults are enjoying time with their children and my interactions with them are positive. But every once in a while I’ll encounter some resistance.

I could tell you stories…

There’s a fraction of the population that doesn’t support the idea of adults using playgrounds for exercise. I see this as being due in part to the a large number of Americans who’ve fallen prey to the Spectator Epidemic. Meaning, they tend to be passive observers about exercise which is a big problem in our culture. In this video of Chinese seniors, you’ll see that their culture is completely supportive of adults exercising in parks.

So I’m even more appreciative of parks that cater to adults who want to work out. When you consider that obesity rates in America are among the highest in the world, with two out of every three Americans being obese or overweight, it’s quite obvious that we have an exercise shortage in our country. According to Wikipedia:

Obesity has led to over 120,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States. An obese person in America is likely to incur $1,497 more in medical expenses annually. Approximately $190 billion is spent in added medical expenses per year within the United States. Obesity is a preventable condition that has been increasing within the United States. Health authorities anticipate no change to this vector.

What is needed in order to bring about this change is a shift to the public’s perception about integrating exercise with lifestyle. Television is the primary obstacle, as it breeds passivity and creates a mind-body disconnect. It also prevents many people from perceiving their homes as viable places for exercise.

A good starting point in beginning the process of lifestyle rehabilitation is to use your local park for routine exercise. It’s free and easy to access (for the most part). By doing this you’re helping yourself as well as helping to shift the collective consciousness.

Want to learn more about developing your own park gym routine? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today.